Saturday, January 21, 2017

What is Catherine Reef reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Catherine Reef, author of Florence Nightingale: The Courageous Life of the Legendary Nurse.

Her entry begins:
Many of us recall Mary Shelley as the eighteen-year-old girl who produced a startlingly original book that went on to become a horror classic. We may have heard that she was the daughter of two influential writers of the late eighteenth century, William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft (who died soon after giving birth). We may also know that she ran off to Europe at sixteen with the married Percy Bysshe Shelley; that following Percy’s wife’s suicide, he and Mary married; and that Percy drowned in 1822, when he was twenty-nine and Mary was twenty-five.

But Mary Shelley hardly faded into obscurity after her husband’s death. Left with a son to support, she relied on her pen. Although she produced nothing to rival Frankenstein in lasting popularity, she authored several novels, short fiction for ladies’ magazines and other outlets, and nonfiction, including essays and entries for biographical dictionaries. Because I am writing a book on Mary Shelley, I have been reading her lesser-known works.

In her later fiction Shelley sometimes presented idealized or intense father-daughter relationships, causing some readers to speculate that she was responding to her difficult tie with her own father. Godwin had been outspoken in condemning institutions that hinder individual freedom and growth, including marriage. Still, he married twice himself, and he turned his back on Mary when she eloped, fearing public disapproval, and this hurt her profoundly. He resumed regular communication with Mary and Percy Shelley after they were married, only to hound them for money. Godwin believed wealth was meant to be shared and saw himself as deserving. He knew that his son-in-law was in line to inherit a large estate and...[read on]
About Florence Nightingale, from the publisher:
Most people know Florence Nightingale was a compassionate and legendary nurse, but they don’t know her full story. This riveting biography explores the exceptional life of a woman who defied the stifling conventions of Victorian society to pursue what was considered an undesirable vocation. She is best known for her work during the Crimean War, when she vastly improved gruesome and deadly conditions and made nightly rounds to visit patients, becoming known around the world as the Lady with the Lamp. Her tireless and inspiring work continued after the war, and her modern methods in nursing became the defining standards still used today.
Visit Catherine Reef's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Catherine Reef & Nandi.

The Page 69 Test: Frida & Diego.

My Book, The Movie: Noah Webster.

The Page 99 Test: Florence Nightingale.

Writers Read: Catherine Reef.

--Marshal Zeringue